Pompeii‎ > ‎Public Buildings‎ > ‎

Temple of the Lares Publici

Description of the Temple (Reg VII, Ins 9, 3)

The Temple of the Lares Publici lies immediately to the south of the Macellum on the east side of the Forum. Probably built after the earthquake of AD62, it measures approximately 18 by 21 metres and consists of three sides round an open central court. The building has been designated as the sanctuary for the public lares but it may have been dedicated to the deified Augustus.

The date of its construction has been, and remains, open to debate. Initially August Mau (1879) dated the building to a time after the earthquake of AD62, but subsequently changed his mind based on the buildings interface with the pre and post 62 walls of the Temple of Vespasian to the south.
..
..
..
The walls of the sanctuary (the front and back of the rear wall are pictured top and right) are built in brickwork, both reticulatum and incertum. What we see today is only rough masonry, but both walls and floors were originally covered with a veneer of fine marble. The building itself consists of a large unroofed court (A) with a large apse (B) occupying most of the rear wall. The elevation of the rear wall, pictured below, is a reconstruction by August Mau.
..
..
..


..
The pre 62 date has been supported by several eminent authorities including Gradel ('Mamia's Dedication: Emperor and Genius', 1992) and Wallat ('Opus Testaceum in Pomeji', 1993).

However, the case for dating the buildings construction to after the earthquake is equally well argued. In his discussion on the building as part of the Pompeii Forum Project, John Dobbins proposed that the building could only have been built after the earthquake of AD62. His argument was based on the temples structural relationship with contiguous buildings, the design of the building itself and its positioning with regard to the forum. While the Macellum (coloured pink in the accompanying graphic), the Temple of Vespasian (coloured green) and the Building of Eumachia (coloured blue) all follow the line of the neighbouring streets, the Temple of the Lares Publici (coloured yellow) was built aligned with the axis of the forum. Its construction also blocked off the Vicolo del Balcone Pensile, which ran along the south side of the Macellum, implying that it was built at a time when the street layout no longer influenced the design of the forum.

..
..
In the centre of the apse is a socle about 1.8m high on which stood a shrine with a pedestal for three statues. The socle extended out in front of the pedestal to provide a table for offerings and laterally to support two columns and two half columns either side.

On the north and south sides of the court is an ala (C) which contained a statue on a raised pedestal. The two entrances were flanked by pilasters, while each entrance was divided into three parts by two columns.

There were three niches in each of the side walls of the court and two more at the rear; all were flanked by small pilasters which rested on a socle
about 1.8m above the floor. In the centre of the court is the remains of an altar (D).
 
..
On the outside of the building is a small podium (E) (shown left) accessed by means of a short flight of steps. At the edge of the forum are the bases of eight columns of a portico which joined neighbouring porticoes to form the forum colonnade. The area at the rear of the temple is accessed by way of a door (F) at the west end of the Vicolo del Balcone Pensile (above).

*
Images ©Jackie and Bob Dunn are reproduced by permission from their website at www.pompeiiinpictures.com
(Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali: Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei)





Home................<.Previous Building.................Public Buildings.....,,,,........Next Building.>......,,,.........Glossary